Doc: Milicic 'likely' to return to Serbia
November, 20, 2012
By Greg Payne | ESPNBoston.com
WALTHAM -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers said it's likely that reserve center Darko Milicic will leave the team for the remainder of the season in order to be with his ill mother in Serbia.
"Most likely, yeah," Rivers said when asked if Milicic was done.
"Stuff with his family has been going on for a while. We've talked about it three or four times. You know, it's probably 50-50, but once you get the one side working, it's always going to win out."
Milicic hasn't played since the Celtics' home opener Nov. 2 -- his only appearance of the regular season -- and didn't travel with the team last weekend for Sunday's game against the Detroit Pistons.
Rivers said the team has known about Milicic's family issues for some time, but that he didn't think it would result in Milicic leaving the team.
"No, no. We were hoping not," Rivers said. "But his mom gets sick, he's not playing, the whole sickness, it happens. I didn't fight it much. I told him he's got to do what he thinks is right, and I'm going to support him one way or the other. But it's been going on for a little bit now.
"You could see a change when he found out his mom wasn't doing well. There's no doubt about that," Rivers added.
Rivers said the team won't rush to fill Milicic's roster spot.
"No rush at all," Rivers said. "We're going to look around, but I can tell you we're in no rush."
Other notes from Tuesday's session:
* Recharging: With his team still feeling some of the effects from the recent seven-games-in-10-days stretch, Rivers opted to keep things light on Tuesday, running practice for a little over an hour.
"It wasn't much today," Rivers said. "Hell, I think we're still tired, honestly. So, today's practice was light. Didn't do a lot. I just didn't feel like we could work on a lot today. I just needed them in the gym together and just run through stuff and run into each other a couple times."
* Big Games? Though the Celtics haven't played against some of the league's better teams yet, Rivers said that Wednesday and Friday's bouts with San Antonio and Oklahoma City, respectively, won't act as a litmus test for Boston.
"Listen, if we win them, what does it mean? It means we beat San Antonio and Oklahoma City in the regular season, you know?" River said. "Clearly, it's fun playing teams like this. It really is. I hope every night's a litmus test. We've got to get better. We're 6-5 and you are what your record says you are. So, we want to just get better, and playing these two teams, we want to beat them both. One at a time.
"We play San Antonio first and that's where our focus has to be. But again, the big picture of it, it can't hurt you if you beat teams like this, but at the end of the day, you still have to be ready when the playoffs start."
* What streak? Rivers left Rajon Rondo in late in Sunday's loss to the Pistons to pursue his streak of double-digit assist games, but he said he was unaware of what Rondo's record actually was and who he was chasing.
"I could care less, honestly. I really do," Rivers said of the streak, which currently sits at 34 games. "For him, it'd be great, but I never get into the individual streak stuff. What does that do for you? You have a record. I'm made different that way, and they know that. It'd be great for him to get it. I don't even know what it is. I swear to gosh, I have no idea what he's chasing. I just hear he's got a streak going. Who is he chasing? I don't even know that."
Informed it's John Stockton and Magic Johnson, he replied, "Oh, so that tells you where I'm at with it. I think that explains it all."